Dutch Buddhists embroiled in sexual abuse scandal: Nos

Dutch News, May 25, 2015

Amsterdam, Netherlands -- The Buddhist movement in the Netherlands has become embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal after broadcaster Nos reported on several cases where monks and teachers were involved in ‘unacceptable behaviour’ with students going back decades.

Some of the students were minors when the abuse happened and the cases are not confined to one temple, the broadcaster said. In addition, little was done to help the victims when they came forward.

One case centres on a Thai monk, who is said to have abused male pupils since arriving in the Netherlands in the 1970s. He died in 2007.

The monk, named as Mettavihari, was forced to leave the Waalwijk temple where he was based in the early 1980s because of reports that he was harassing a minor, the broadcaster said.


Six teachers who worked with Mettavihari went public in a Buddhist paper with their claims about his abuse of pupils earlier this month.
They say they have come forward now because their own research has shown the abuse was wider than thought and that some victims have experienced serious consequences because of it. The Nos also looked into two other cases.

One focused on a Buddhist centre in Middelburg where an Austrian teacher abused several female pupils between 2001 and 2008.

A second centres on a monastery in Makkinga in Friesland, where a leader stepped down after being accused of having sexual relationships with many women, and under-aged girls.


In addition, Buddhist teacher Frank Uyttebroeck told the broadcaster he had been approached by at least five people since 2010 with reports of abuse.

Two of whom were so traumatised they have been referred for further medical care. Nos said the Dutch Buddhist Union (BUN) is only now taking the sexual abuse claims seriously and has written to its 40 or so member organisations urging them to take precautionary measures.

‘I want to tell my story to make it clear that you have to speak out if things are not right,’ said Patrick Franssen, who claims he was abused up to 50 times by Mettavihari in the 1970s from the age of 19.

There are some 50,000 to 65,000 Buddhists in the Netherlands.